GILLETTE, Wyo. — A woman recently charged with drug distribution now faces two felony counts of identity theft after she used a North Carolina woman’s information to sign rental agreements, court documents say.
Ashley Barrera-Balino, 37, who was recently implicated in a drug bust on Elon Avenue on June 14 for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, faces two additional felonies relating to multiple false identification cards discovered during the same incident.
During the initial investigation, a large amount of cash, felony amounts of individually packaged cocaine, and misdemeanor amounts of marijuana were reportedly seized, and Barrera-Balino was apprehended while attempting to leave the apartment and claimed the leaseholder was her friend, Tamara, according to multiple affidavits of probable cause filed in the case.
Inside the apartment, officers located multiple driver’s licenses from different states with Barrera-Balino’s picture on them but with other names, one of which was Tamara M. Jack, per the affidavits.
The apartment landlord identified Barrera-Balino as the person who rented the agreement, the affidavit states, and provided officers with a background check, a copy of a Washington driver’s license for Tamara Jack, and the lease agreement containing a social security number and a 1991 birth date.
Officers also located a rental agreement during the drug bust for multiple furniture items and a television from Rent-A-Center signed by Tamara Jack with a Washington driver’s license, according to the affidavit.
The numbers and names used did not come back to a valid Washington license, the affidavit continues, though police did find a license for a Tamara Jack with a different middle name, but the same residential address and date of birth used by Barrera-Balino.
When they contacted the real Tamara, who said she used to live in Washington but now resides in North Carolina, officers learned that she had never been to Wyoming and gave no one to use her information to rent an apartment, according to the affidavit.
The real Tamara confirmed that the social security number, address, date of birth, and first and last name used for the rental agreements were hers, per the affidavit. She found credit checks on dates coinciding with the Rent-A-Center and apartment rental agreements.
Barrera-Balino was arraigned on the charges before Circuit Court Judge Paul S. Phillips, of the Sixth Judicial District, on June 23 where a personal surety bond was set at $5,000.
Two preliminary hearings for Barrera-Balino, one for identity theft and the other for drug possession with intent to distribute, have been set for this summer.